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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2007): Education - overseas

The bankrupt “revolution”: running schools like businesses fails the test

R.W. Howard and J. Preisman

Education and Urban Society, vol.39, 2007, p.244-263

This article examines the arguments of William G. Ouchi, one of the prominent champions of the idea that business management practices should be applied to school districts. Ouchi claims to have found school districts that have dramatically improved their performance by implementing his ideas. The authors conclude that neither financial nor academic data from Seattle Public Schools, one of Ouchi’s exemplary districts, support the claim.

Barriers to integration in the Mississippi Delta: could Charter Schools be the new vehicle for desegregation?

S. E. Eckes

Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, vol.6, 2006, p.15-30

In this case study, White children in a Mississippi Delta town have traditionally attended a private academy, while Black children have used the local state school. White parents said that they chose not to send their children to the state school because of discipline problems, less challenging academics and fewer extracurricular activities. Black parents said that the real reason was racism on the part of Whites. When a high-performing Charter School opened locally, White parents still chose to send their children to the private academy, tending to confirm the accusations of covert racism.

A case study of teachers’ perceptions of school desegregation and the redistribution of social and academic capital

S.J. Caldas, C.L. Bankston and J.S. Cain

Education and Urban Society, vol.39, 2007, p.194-222

In June 2000 a US federal court ordered the Lafayette Parish School Board at Lafayette, Louisiana to close two low-income African-American primary schools and to bus the displaced pupils across town to five predominantly White middle-class schools. This study collected feedback from teachers at the White middle-class schools that received the displaced low status African-American children. Sixty per cent of the teachers felt that the African-American pupils were better off in the predominantly White schools. However, only 11% felt that the White students were better off than before the bussing. Most teacher comments were negative, with 40% saying that the intake of African-American students had increased discipline problems.

Differential entry into a voucher programme: a longitudinal examination of families who apply to and enroll in the Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program

K.M. Paul, N.A. Legan and K.K. Metcalf

Education and Urban Society, vol.39, 2007, p.233-243

Voucher programmes in the US are contentious because they involve the use of public funds to support the enrollment of pupils in private schools. There are concerns that voucher programmes will promote increased segregation on the basis of income, race or ethnicity, and parental involvement in their children’s education. This study sought to investigate the possible segregational effects of school choice made possible through publicly funded vouchers. Like most voucher programmes, the Cleveland scheme was targeted on low-income families residing in urban school districts. Results suggest that the scheme is successful in reaching its target audience, and that families who apply for and receive vouchers are representative of the Cleveland state school population in terms of income and race. However, evidence emerged that families who are awarded a voucher but choose not to use it are likely to be more disadvanted than those who use the voucher they have received.

Getting boys’ education “right“: the Australian government’s Parliamentary Inquiry report as an exemplary instance of recuperative masculinity politics

M. Mills, W. Martino and B. Lingard

Abingdon: Routledge, 2006

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol.28, 2007, p.5-21

This article presents a critical analysis of the report of the Australian federal Parliamentary Inquiry into Boys’ Education, Boys: Getting it Right. This report presents boys as a disadvantaged group in Australian education. It argues that the feminisation of schooling has caused problems for boys, whose needs are presented as essentially different from those of girls. It implies that this feminisation is a result of a policy legacy that has favoured girls over boys, of curriculum content and assessment and pedagogical practices that are unfriendly to boys, and because of the large numbers of women teachers to whom boys are exposed. It draws on populist literature and submissions from the boys’ lobby, as well as practice-oriented submissions, to the neglect of theoretically oriented pro-feminist work.

Higher education in economic transformation

J. Zaglul, D. Sherrard and C. Juma

International Journal of Technology and Globalisation, vol.2, 2006, p.241-251

The expansion of primary and secondary education in Africa has been the focus of donor community attention for decades, while the development of higher education has been viewed as essential to development only in more recent years. This article presents a series of case studies of the role of universities in Africa’s economic and social development, using examples from Costa Rica, Zambia, Ghana and South Korea.

The RoutledgeFalmer reader in education policy and politics

B. Lingard and J. Ozga (editors)

Abingdon: Routledge, 2007

The papers contained in this book discuss, document and analyse the impact of globalisation on the new direction of education policies and practices. The Reader is organised in two parts. The first part, ‘The global framing of education policy and politics’, provides a selection of articles that interrogate globalisation and its effects from a variety of analytical perspectives and explore what kind of politics are possible in the framing context of globalisation. The second part, ‘Vernacular politics, policies and processes’, documents and discusses different types of engagement with politics and policy in a variety of settings and sectors, including European and Pacific Rim countries.

School leadership and equity

J.T. Goddard (editor)

School Leadership and Management, vol. 27, 2007, p. 1-103

This special issue presents an international review of the ways in which school leaders are responding to the challenges presented by increasingly ethnically diverse communities. Each article presents a case study of a small sample of schools in seven different countries (Belgium, Canada, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovenia and Sweden). All of these countries are experiencing major demographic changes that impact on their schools. In Canada, Sweden and New Zealand schools must meet the needs of both international immigrants and indigenous minority groups. The large number of immigrant children from former colonies is an issue in Belgium and the Netherlands. In Slovenia and Greece, refugee children from regional conflicts are stressing the schools. In all countries studied, the formal and compulsory school system reflected the dominant culture and the indigenous and immigrant communities were not achieving success.

School problems or individual shortcomings? A study of individual education plans in Sweden

J. Isaksson, R. Lindqvist and E. Bergstrøm

European Journal of Special Needs Education, vol.22, 2007, p.75-91

In 1995 it became mandatory to establish individual educational plans (IEPs) for children with special needs in Swedish state schools. On the basis of the pupils’ needs, such plans should contain information about their school situation and performance, the class, teaching, etc. This study explores how special educational needs are defined and described and what support measures are suggested , using IEPs for pupils with special needs at a school in a municipality in Northern Sweden. The analysis indicates that difficulties are primarily attributed to pupils’ shortcomings and remedial measures focus on training to raise individual performance. The research also found that many plans were developed without involving parents, who often did not know that their child had an IEP.

Vocationalizing secondary education: the junior secondary schooling reform of 1987 in Ghana

G.M. Osei

Educational Review, vol.59, 2007, p. 71-85

The 1987 education reforms in Ghana set out to increase access to education at all levels, to improve its quality, to diversify the curriculum by introducing vocational and technical subjects, and to shorten the Ghanaian education ladder by three years. The research reported here is part of an extensive study which explored the readiness of schools and teachers to support the implementation of the vocational elements of the curriculum. The study shows that the planned changes were not clearly conceptualised and that there was a serious lack of communication between different parts of the education system. Teachers had not developed the capabilities required by the curriculum reform to organise lessons in such a way that there was full and meaningful participation by most pupils.

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